International hairdresser Louis Byrne talks about learning to thrive rather than just survive in the hairdressing world. Here are his top tips on how to care for your mental wellbeing in and out of the salon.

Louis Byrne

Louis Byrne, the founder of the ‘I Can I Am and I Will’ movement, is sharing monthly advice on key methods for self-discovery, debunking the myths around mental health and helping YOU begin a better tomorrow.

Working on your mental and physical wellbeing is a marathon not a sprint. The saying goes that you can’t pour from an empty cup – by staying tapped into how you are feeling you’ll be better placed to help your team, to manage the stress of the job, and to make your business thrive.

For August, it’s about focusing on what your body is telling you, a lesson Louis learned the hard way.

“The first image is of me in 2017, just about surviving, compared with my appearance at the 2021 GQ Awards red carpet with Vicky McClure,” Louis tells us.

“In the first picture, I was heavily addicted to alcohol, drugs and sex – basically any way I could abuse myself. I knew I really had to make a big change, but the habits were deep set. I was really triggered; lost, lonely and very sad. I think you can see that in my face.

“I took the photo when I was in hospital in Las Vegas and my body had made it clear that enough was enough, with something I call ‘body talk’. We all know about body language and we all read this with other people day-to-day – but ‘body talk’ is your body’s way of communicating to you that you need to take notice. This is something we will cover later on, but the message is simple; listen to your body. Fear, guilt, shame and regret were all things I was carrying around and not dealing with.”

What I’ve learned about wellbeing

Wellbeing is the act of practicing healthy habits on a daily basis to attain better physical and mental health outcomes. Instead of surviving, you are thriving. Prevention is always better than the cure – for both physical and mental issues. 

The key to better mental health is enabling the mind and body to function at its best by making the right choices. Being able to see things from a perspective other than your own also really helps. It’s up to you to start to identifying good and bad behaviours, enabling growth. This will help you to have a stronger sense of self. 

My wellbeing fundamentals 


Good sleep can be the key to improving your emotional balance, aid productivity, and give you more energy for life.


Nutrition is as much about feeding your soul as it is your body. The connection between diet and mood is intrinsically linked, so it’s important to eat the right foods!


Movement creates energy from the inside out, from the flow of blood and oxygen to the stamina it boosts, and the spark it can put back in you.


Gratitude fosters positive feelings and can contribute to a sense of wellbeing when practiced regularly.

Setting goals

Setting goals helps to mobilise and focus your energy, encouraging a growth mindset.


Establishing or identifying rituals that serve you can help to foster positive habits and develop them.


Self-awareness and introspection can connect you more deeply with who you really are and how you really feel.


Manifestations shape your feelings, thoughts and actions and ultimately your life experiences.

Louis’ tips for better mental wellbeing


Use a journal in your everyday life to jot down thoughts and feelings. Don’t worry about the quality of writing, or needing to write reams – just getting thoughts out of your head and onto paper can help.

Listen to your body

Listen to what your body is telling you; you have the power to help heal yourself. It sounds silly to say ‘if you’re hungry then eat’, or ‘rest if you’re tired’, but we regularly try to push through these feelings.

Remain present

Try and stay in the present moment, as by doing this you will regain clarity. Meditation can help with this.

Try using distraction as a technique

Trying to work on yourself can be the hardest thing to do. If I’m focussing on just one thing, to be honest, I often fail. I like to use distraction techniques to help me with this. I start with trying a few things together, so the key one doesn’t seem so serious and important – and I find it’s easier to achieve a goal in this scenario, with the pressure off.

Think of others

Do something for someone that needs help and it will benefit your own mental health. There are some great organisations out there. I volunteered with Haircuts4Homeless and enjoyed it a lot. What you focus on will expand – just make sure its positive!

You can find more wellbeing content from Louis Byrne here >>